Friday, May 28, 2010

Spaghetti with Chunky Tomato Sauce

Another winning recipe from the Vegetarian Times magazine. I saw the picture (recipes should ALWAYS come with a picture, in my opinion) and had to make it.

There were many reasons the recipe grabbed my attention... I got to make my own sauce (I dream of having some fantastic marinara sauce recipe that comes from old world italy, simmers for hours, and people rave about - that recipe has yet to be found), the title is 'chunky' and I'm feeling a bit chunky myself these days, and it was spaghetti, which seems like such an excellent spring, transition type food.

The recipe is easy, and it's light but filling. You could even prep the veggies the night before, for faster cook time. And I love the fact that the recipe tells you to chop your veggies in the food processor! How often do you see a recipe telling you to take the easy way out?! Helping you prep faster and get food on the table sooner. Kudos to the Veg Times cooks.

My only comment would be that it makes a lot of sauce. 1/2 package of spaghetti was just about the perfect amount for 2 adult dinners, but we have tons of extra sauce (I love leftovers!). The sauce makes enough for 4-5 adults (6, if you are serving the pasta with a couple of side dishes). In the future, I can also imagine playing with the veggies - for example, adding zucchini when it's growing like gangbusters in your garden!

It was a perfect blend of flavors - nothing was too much. A delicious dinner in 30 minutes or less! I definitely urge you to make this one soon.

Spaghetti with Chunky Tomato Sauce
from The Vegetarian Times, April 2010

8 oz. (2 cups) sliced white mushrooms (I think I used more like 1.5 cups)
1 medium red bell pepper, cut into chunks
1 large leek, white part cut into chunks
2 Tablespoons olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced (1 Tablespoon)
2 Tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 15-oz. cans diced tomatoes (muir glen is my new favorite brand)
1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas (or 1 15 oz. can, rinsed and drained)
1/4 cup red wine
8 cups baby spinach leaves (I only used about 5 cups)
8 ounces spaghetti (1/2 of a 1 pound package)

Place mushrooms, bell pepper, and leek in bowl of food processor. Pulse until ingredients are coarsely chopped.

Heat oil in large saucepan or stockpot over medium-high heat. Add mushroom mixture and garlic, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cook 3-5 minutes, or until vegetables are softened and most of liquid has evaporated. Stir in oregano, thyme, and red pepper flakes, and cook 30 seconds, or until fragrant. Add tomatoes, chickpeas, and wine, and season with salt and pepper, if desired.

Cover, and simmer 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach, and cook 3-5 minutes more, or until spinach has wilted.

Meanwhile, cook spaghetti according to package directions. Serve spaghetti topped with sauce.

Guten appetit!